ODE Career Advising Policy Requirements Take Affect, Cleveland Schools Prepared

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It is the Ohio Department of Education’s goal to have middle school and high school students more focused on careers through their education. The ODE is now requiring all Ohio School Districts to have a career advising policy for students. That requirement began at the start of the current school year.

While this policy is new, the Cleveland Metropolitan School district has been giving career advice to its high school students for years and to middle school students since last year.

CMSD Chief Academic Officer Michelle Pierre-Farid said that getting students focused on life after high school– whether that’s for college or a career– has helped improve graduation rates.

“What happens in their middle school years actually impacts their high school, college and careers later on, which a lot of students don’t think about,” Pierre-Farid said.

Pierre-Farid isn’t too concerned with the idea that students might lose flexibility in career choices by focusing on specific careers early in life.

“If you have a pathway, you’re more likely to finish. If you don’t sit there and tell them that they can go to college and we believe in them, then they’re not going to think that way. Based on studies, based on reflections from our scholars who have gone off to college, we know that if we backwards map early enough, they might change ten, fifteen times, but they will stay on a pathway.”

Pierre-Farid also said that many CMSD student aspire to be athletes. While her staff encourages athletics, they also engage their students in other, similar career paths.

“We’ll say, ‘What do you like about basketball? What excites you?’ ‘Well, I like the mechanics. I like this.’ So we might say, ‘Are you also interested in how your muscles work? Is sports medicine another opportunity to think about?’”

CMSD received funding from the Cleveland Foundation for a mentorship program to assist eight graders with career advising.

The ODE wants all Ohio school districts to submit their career advising plans to the state by September 30. This policy is part of “Career Connections,” a joint initiative with the governor’s office, the ODE, the board of regents and Ohio Means Jobs to help students become more career focused.

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